Wednesday, February 01, 2012

86 Days- Preserving the Past and Goals for the Future

For the past three winters I have been working on a scrapbook of my 2009 Appalachian Trail thru-hike.  On that I hike I took roughly a picture a mile so I ended up with 2,175 photos.  From those I picked out my favorites—a mere 1,000 of them (sometimes I think about hauling out such a huge photo album at a family function and clearing out the room as everybody else finds something to do besides look at hiking pictures for a couple hours).
I used Snapfish to upload, edit, and print my photos.  They run constant promotions:  penny prints, free shipping, new member discount…  It still wasn’t cheap to get that many photos, but when I held the two cardboard cartons they came in they were hefty with wonderful memories.
In the winter of ’09 and ‘10 it was my goal to complete the book.  I worked steadily; taking over the kitchen table.  I cropped pictures, picked out complementary paper, and went through a few packs of photo-mounts.  It was evident at the beginning of spring 2010 that I wasn’t going to finish the scrapbook project before I moved to Maryland in May.  I left the project in Vermont when I went to Maryland—I didn’t want the photos and paper getting ruined.
The pages for Mount Mossalokie in New Hampshire
After a spring, summer, and fall spent on the A.T. (only Maryland’s 40 miles) it was winter again and it was time to get back to work on my scrapbook.  I was making good progress even though not a single page had captions and I was storing the pages in a boot box instead of an album.  At the end of March I still had about 300 pictures left and all the captioning, but it was time to pack my pictures and supplies up and return to the A.T. in Maryland.
Again, this winter the goal is to finish the scrapbook.  Seriously this time.   I have a work space set up in my room and between the gym and planning my PCT hike I worked on my scrapbook.  On Monday I finished gluing down the last of the 300 photos.  It was with a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished that last page even though I still have to add captions.
The pages of my scrapbook
The book has to be done before I leave for California—I’ll have a few thousand new pictures to play with by the end of the PCT.  I don’t know if I’ll make a scrapbook for my PCT hike.  This one has been a very time consuming project.  Snapfish makes beautiful photo books and they run sales on them all the time.  As much as I like the hands on approach of the scrapbook a professionally printed photo book has a lot of appeal. 
I have learned a few things while putting together this scrapbook.  First, as beautiful as the Appalachian Trail is photos of people make for a more interesting book.  My goal for the PCT is to take more pictures of people:  people in camp, day hikers, trail angels on the trail, people lounging in town, people admiring the view, crossing rivers, eating plates of food as big as their head.  Second:  Towns are part of the trail, too.  My second photo goal is to take more pictures of hikers in town, trail angels, where I eat, and hotel rooms after a pack explosion.
When I look through my A.T. pictures I miss those moments.  So if I take your picture on the PCT while you’re cooking dinner, you’ll know why.

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